ISL: Kerala Blasters to meet East Bengal in opener at Kochi

ISL trophy
Eleven teams are in the fray. File photo

Mumbai: The Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 will kick off on October 7 when last season's runners-up Kerala Blasters host East Bengal FC at Kochi's Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

Featuring 117 matches, the ISL returns to entertain its fans across 10 venues around the country. For the first time ever, the ISL league stage will run for close to five months apart from the play-offs, semifinals and final. Each club will play 20 league matches - 10 each at home and away through as the league stage draws to a close on February 26, 2023.

The ISL will be followed by the Super Cup in April, 2023.

The new ISL season will also be special as fans will be welcomed back to the stadiums after a gap of two seasons. To make it convenient for more fans and families to attend and watch their teams in action, the ISL has created a fixture list with most matches taking place on weekends. Each matchweek is scheduled between Thursday and Sunday.

This season onwards, IS organisers Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), has also introduced a new play-off format, adding two exciting matches into the calendar. The top two teams at the end of the league stage will automatically qualify for the semifinals. Teams finishing among third and sixth will feature in a single-leg play-off to determine the other two semifinalists.

Defending champions Hyderabad FC start their title defence on October 9 in front of their home fans against former champions Mumbai City FC at the GMC Balayogi Athletic Stadium, Gachibowli.

Last year's Shield Winners Jamshedpur FC are in action two days later, on October 11 at the JRD Tata Sports Complex against Odisha FC.

Fans can watch India's biggest derby between ATK Mohun Bagan and East Bengal on October 29 and February 25, 2023, to be played at the iconic Vivekananda YuvabharatiKrirangan (Salt Lake Stadium) in Kolkata.

New ISL play-offs format

Eliminator 1: 3rd placed team vs 6th placed team

Eliminator 2: 4th placed team vs 5th placed team

Semifinal 1 1st Leg: 1st placed team vs (Winner - Eliminator 2)

Semifinal 2 1st Leg: 2nd placed team vs (Winner - Eliminator 1)

Semifinal 1 2nd Leg: (Winner - Eliminator 2) vs 1st placed team

Semifinal 2 2nd Leg: (Winner - Eliminator 1) vs 2nd placed team

Final: (Winner Semifinal 1) vs (Winner Semifinal 2)

Key dates at a glance

Opening match: October 7th, 2022

Last league stage matchweek: February 23rd-26th, 2023

Play-offs, semifinals and final: March, 2023

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